In late November 2021, the World Health Organization declared the SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.529 the fifth variant of concern, Omicron. This variant has acquired over 30 mutations in the spike protein (with 15 in the receptor-binding domain), raising concerns that Omicron could evade naturally acquired and vaccine-derived immunity. We utilized an authentic virus, multicycle neutralisation assay to demonstrate that sera collected one, three, and six months post-two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 had a limited ability to neutralise SARS-CoV-2. However, four weeks after a third dose, neutralising antibody titres were boosted. Despite this increase, neutralising antibody titres were reduced fourfold for Omicron compared to lineage A.2.2 SARS-CoV-2.
Keywords: COVID-19; Omicron; Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2; SARS-CoV-2; VOC; immunity; neutralising antibodies; vaccine.